Long list of former convicts who have killed Ugandans soon after being released
Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The effectiveness of a country’s prisons system, otherwise called reformatory or correctional facilities in some jurisdictions, is measured by the incidence or percentage of repeat offenders.
Uganda Prisons Services Service’ record in as far as deadly crimes especially violent murder are concerned, does not look good if the records of the past few years are considered.
A look at suspects arrested in dreadful crimes committed in the last three years reveals that almost every case involved one or two suspects who had just been released on bail or had served and completed their jail term.
This year alone, most suspects connected to numerous abductions and killings in the districts like Ntoroko, Kabalore, Ibanda, Mbarara, Kyenjojo, Bushenyi and Lwengo are repeat offenders, according to Criminal Investigations Directorate – CID Spokesperson Charles Twine.
Twine says Bernabas Alleluia, Herbert Mutamba and Deus Ahimbisibwe linked to the killing of Ntoroko district official Jefferson Kabagambe, Mbarara businesswoman Melesi Nabisinde and Lwengo businessman Fred Kaggwa were released recently after spending eight years in jail on charges of murder and aggravated robbery.
“This gang is a known serial gang who have got a history of criminality. In 2009, Alleluia and Mutamba were charged over murder and aggravated robbery. With all the cases proven beyond reasonable doubt, they were given lenient sentences of only eight years which they served religiously. But even before the ink that released them had dried, they descended on Ugandans,” Twine says.
Similarly, the suspects in the 2019 armed robberies targeting mobile money operators in among other areas Kampala, Wakiso, Masaka and Mukono with several victims being killed are believed to have been masterminded by three former convicts and army deserters.
Commissioner of Police- CP Fred Enanga, identified the suspects in the mobile money attacks as Emma Onenchan, Dennis Magusho and Stanley Muluuta Stanley alias Jjumba Frank alias Ssalongo.
“The suspects who are former convicts had been released from jail less than a month. They were also wanted for killing a UPDF Captain,” Enanga said.
Some of the victims of mobile money shootings include Walugembe Raphael, who was a resident of Kitende “A” cell, in Nateete and was killed on May17, Nalwadda Harriet and her employee Nakabuubi Moreen, were shot dead at Zzana on June 10, 2019.
The group that kidnapped social worker, Maria Nagirinya and her temporary driver Ronald Kitayimbwa, in September 2019, confessed that they had received the assignment while still in Luzira prison. Three of the suspects had just been released from prison and their first assignment was killing Nagirinya.
Investigators established that they were being commanded by Kasolo Kopriano alias Arsenal and he paid each member only 130,000 shillings. But todate, police and sister agencies have never established the person who assigned them while in prison to kill Nagirinya even though the deceased’s father, Francis Lubowa, has often demanded to know who hired people to kill his daughter.
It is not only in Uganda where former convicts have committed the same or more serious offences after being released. The May 2018 report by U.S. Department of Justice report that followed 412,731 released prisoners indicate that 45 percent had been rearrested in the first year of release.
By end of seven years, 79 percent of former convicts had been rearrested, charged, remanded and convicted again over the same offences or new ones which were more serious than those they previously committed.
Prof Edward Bantu, a specialist in psychology, explains that people become habitual offenders for reasons ranging from genetic disposition, childhood experience or unfavourable conditions they face in jail.
Bantu believes some people are naturally violent while others have grown up or lived in violent environment that has eventually affected their way of life. He adds that jails in most cases do not have rehabilitation services or services to prepare convicts completing their sentences.
“It is a general concern not only to jail offenders but to the general public. Prisons are just collection centres where they try to restore sanity. But we need to know that some have a genetic disposition and have a clear inclination to committing crime,” Bantu says.
Other gruesome incidents where people just released from jail wreaked havoc to innocent Ugandans include infamous Aloysius Tamale aka Young Mulo gang linked to more than 20 killings of Boda-Boda riders.
By the time security arrested Young Mulo and his ‘twice’ Mugisha aka Mukiga and their subordinates who include Kimirire John, Kawooya Robert, Nakanjako Viola Yiga Dan and Ali Wetule, CID records indicated they had been in jail at least more than twice.
President Yoweri Museveni has repeatedly called for a ban on giving bail or bond to capital offence suspects particularly murder. But lawyers have described the move as suicidal and threatening human rights enshrined in country’s constitution.